One-Day Mataram

Deconstructing the gentleman's game

Day 1 at Kingsmead Durban

At the end of the first day of the second Test match at Kingsmead, Durban, India would have felt mighty relieved at being just two wickets away from wrapping up a resurgent South African innings.

Smarting from the defeat in the first Test match, the South Africans denied the visitors any advantage by presenting them with a slow without without much grass. This in itself was a major victory for the Indians and perhaps this is an unprecedented event in the history of Indian overseas tours. But even that did not prevent the Indian pacemen from reducing the Proteas to a measly 28/3, before a couple of good, strong partnerships resurrected the South African innings. Ashwell Prince, the only SA batsman who could hold his head high even at Jo'burg was the star today too. At the end of the day, suffering from cramps, he stood at a defiant 98 not out... while the batsmen at the other end gave him some support.

And what seemed to be a South African fightback, soon gave way as Anil Kumble reduced the the hosts to 257/8 with two wickets in one over, before bad light stopped play.

All in all... things were even till about 30-40 mins before play ended. Four wickets in the final 40 minutes has meant that Indians will start proceedings on Day 2 from the driver's seat. With the next two days promising to be batsmen-friendly as far as the pitch and the conditions are concerned, Indian batsmen will have very little by the way of excuses if they mess up from here.

For today though, once again on this tour, Indian bowlers have walked away with the honours! ... no mean feat for a side that was ridiculed to have a toothless attack till not very long ago!

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